In the November issue of Maxim magazine, an article entitled "How to Cure a Feminist" appeared on page 58. In it, such helpful advice is given as "win her over," "open her eyes," "treat her right," and "shift her focus." Get this: "A feminist is just like any other woman: She won't give you the time of day if you don't know how to approach her. To prove you're not part of the dreaded penisocracy, pretend to share her beliefs." To do so, ask her questions like, "Did you see Cagney & Lacey on Lifetime last night?" (Guffaw.) Using Maxim's four easy steps, you'll transform her from an unshaven tomboy in cargo pants demanding that penises be cut off to stop wars to a babe in high heels and a red bra and panties moaning all over your Camaro. What's wrong with that? What is wrong, we ask, with having to "reshizzle her feminist-tinged interests so you can actually spend time with her"?
Well, lots. And so, this article is inspiring people around the Internet to get very angry. But it's been doing this for years, because this Maxim article is from 2003. Which is not to say that the story isn't obnoxious and sexist (and, possibly worse, kinda dumb). But... isn't there a statute of limitations for how long we should consider things like this outrage-worthy? After all, it's a) from a magazine not really known for its measured social and political tone; and b) coming back to haunt us at a time when there are actual big issues facing women, like, say, you know, health care. And equal pay. And the right to talk about having sex or using birth control (which may or may not mean we have sex) without being called a "slut" in front of the entire country. But despite all that, this is one of those pieces that gets dredged up over and over and over again to be shared on Facebook and have blog posts written about it because it is so perfectly Internet-awful that we just can't help ourselves.
The point is not that we shouldn't care about articles like these—clearly, they're part of the problem of associating feminism with some sort of man-hating movement, which it's not—but if this article had come out in 2011, we would have called it exactly what it is: Trolling. The counter-side to that is that those raising their virtual pitchforks and calling for justice over this little bit of faux-journalism are essentially feeding the trolls—but the trolls of which we speak are most likely not even at Maxim anymore. And, in fact, according to Maxim's Nora Garrity, "This is a piece that was created 9 years ago by people who are no longer affiliated with the magazine."
Perhaps the best thing we can take away from this piece is not a righteous sense of outrage over it having been printed, but a sense of joy over how fashions have changed in the last 10 years. No skinny jeans here! And remember the days of the midriff-baring top? How 2003. Also, can we please bring back the evocative term "penisocracy"? It deserves a reshizzling.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.